Resilience: It means having the grit to get through tough times, feeling confident in yourself and your abilities, bouncing back from adversity, and being in control of stress so that you can move forward and thrive.
It has big benefits, too. According to meQuilibrium research, resilient people have 46 percent less perceived stress, are five times more likely to have good or excellent health, and have a 66 percent higher quality of life overall.
Sounds pretty good, right? So, how can you boost those resilience superpowers? meQuilibirum chief science officer Dr. Andrew Shatté has formulated seven (completely doable) ways:
1. Master Your Emotions
The ability to control your emotions under pressure is absolutely key to resilience. However, we’re born with a tendency to scan the world for “threats” that upend our emotions and compromise our behavior; some of us are quick to anger, anxiety, or frustration (say, blowing up if a car cuts us off in traffic); others look for threats to safety (health anxiety, fear of getting fired).
Power boost: Uncover your default emotion. The next time something stressful happens, tune into your thinking and start to recognize it. Awareness of our thoughts and emotions is the first, most powerful step toward resilience.
2. Defuse Super Stress
When we resort to those long-held emotional reactions, we act habitually and often impulsively—and become stressed in the process. Instead, when those stressful thoughts and emotions come up, defuse them.
Power boost: Reframe stressful thoughts. Let’s say you default to anxiety when upset. Catch that stressful thought and turn it around. For example, Did I really mess up in that meeting yesterday? No, it went fine; I even got assigned a new project. Nine times out of 10, we’ll overreact to a situation when it’s not warranted, which is the key driver of our stress.
3. Blast Through Problems
Become a more flexible thinker. When confronted with a problem, we’ll tend to get stuck and generalize, telling ourselves that something “always” happens and that “everything” always goes wrong.
Power boost: Instead of all-or-nothing generalizations, pinpoint a specific issue and a solution. For instance, instead of saying, “I always miss my deadlines and always feel overwhelmed”; try, “I have a heavy workload. Next time I’m offered a daunting project, I’ll talk to my manager about a reasonable timeframe.”
4. Defeat Self-Doubt
Be deliberate in recognizing what you do well; keep track of your successes, even the tiny ones. This boosts motivation and increases positive emotions such as pride, says Shatté.
Power boost: Jot down at least one success a day before leaving work or at bedtime, and refer to the list when you need a resilience power-up.
5. Radiate Good Vibes
Positivity breeds positivity. For instance, studies show that you get a 50 percent increase in the help people will offer you if you simply say “thank you.” “It has benefits for thanker and thankee,” say Shatté.
Power boost: Shatté goes around the dinner table with his family each night and lists the good things that happened that day. Find a similar good-vibes routine that works for you.
6. Connect Like a Champion
Adults with strong social networks are more confident, less prone to depression, and live longer, notes Shatté.
Power boost: An easy way to connect with others, such as colleagues, is by finding common ground: favorite vacation places, favorite movies, a new restaurant you both love. Look for similarities, however small.
7. Kill it with Courage
Lastly, realize that you’re human. It’s natural to focus more on mistakes and regrets, but they’re part of life.
Power boost: Instead of dwelling on missteps, reframe them as learning experiences. “Only by admitting our shortcomings can we begin to build on them,” Shatté says. Talk about mistakes with family and friends, find humor in them, and share how you might do better next time. “Failure is only failure if we fail to learn from it,” he says.